PARIS, June 13 (RIA Novosti) - The number of documented deaths resulting from the conflict in Syria between March 2011 and the end of April 2013 has reached 92,901, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay announced on Thursday.
“The constant flow of killings continues at shockingly high levels - with more than 5,000 killings documented every month since last July, including a total of just under 27,000 new killings since December 1,” Pillay said. “Unfortunately, as the study indicates, this is most likely a minimum casualty figure. The true number of those killed is potentially much higher.”
The latest study, carried out by specialists on behalf of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), updates an earlier one which listed some 60,000 documented deaths up to November 30, 2012. It was conducted using a combined list of 263,055 reported killings, the final results only listing victims fully identified by name, as well as the date and location of the death. Any reported killing that did not include at least these three elements was excluded from the list, which was compiled using data from eight different sources, the OHCHR said in a statement on its website.
The statistical analysts who produced the report noted that despite the possibility of some duplicate or erroneously reported deaths being included, the total is likely to be an underestimate of the actual death toll.
“This conclusion is based on the fact that 37,988 reported killings containing insufficient information were excluded from the analysis, and that there is a strong likelihood that a significant number of killings may not have been reported at all by any of the eight sources,” the OHCHR said.
The analysis shows a dramatic increase in the average monthly number of documented killings since the beginning of the conflict, from around 1,000 per month in the summer of 2011 to an average of more than 5,000 per month since July 2012.
“This extremely high rate of killings, month after month, reflects the drastically deteriorating pattern of the conflict over the past year,” Pillay said.
“As clearly indicated in the latest report by the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, civilians are bearing the brunt of widespread, violent and often indiscriminate attacks which are devastating whole swathes of major towns and cities, as well as outlying villages. Government forces are shelling and launching aerial attacks on urban areas day in and day out, and are also using strategic missiles and cluster and thermobaric bombs," she added.
According to the OHCHR report, the greatest number of documented killings was recorded in the provinces of Rural Damascus (17,800), Homs (16,400), Aleppo (11,900) and Idlib (10,300); followed by Daraa (8,600), Hama (8,100), Damascus (6,400) and Deir ez-Zor (5,700). The sharpest increases since November 2012 were recorded in Rural Damascus and Aleppo with 6,200 and 4,800 new documented deaths respectively, the OHCHR study said.
Updated - adjusted headline at 16:19, clarifying UN Office name at 18:15, and adding attribution in final paragraph.